Unique Domain Names Sell For Millions

Back in the “wild west” days of the Inter­net (the 1990s), there was a mad dash by many entre­pre­neurs to pur­chase as many unique domain names as pos­si­ble. Back then, a savvy entre­pre­neur could buy a pop­u­lar one word domain name for less than a 20 spot. But times have changed, and the Web is now big busi­ness. Accord­ing­ly, com­pa­nies now spend hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars — or even mil­lions — pur­chas­ing just the right domain name to brand their online busi­ness. One entre­pre­neur who made a par­tic­u­lar­ly good invest­ment back in the 90s is Chris Clark of Mary­land. Chris man­aged to pur­chase the domain name pizza.com way back in 1994 for a pal­try $20. He has held on to the name all these years and just recent­ly sold it at auc­tion this March for a stag­ger­ing $2.6 mil­lion. The win­ning bid was more than 13,000 times Clark’s orig­i­nal $20 invest­ment.

Clark decid­ed to auc­tion off the name and let the bid­ding begin at a hum­ble $100. The final win­ning bid­der chose to remain anony­mous, but it is wide­ly believed that one of the main piz­za retail­ers in the Unit­ed States (Piz­za Hut, Domino’s or Papa John’s) end­ed up with pizza.com.

Clark’s pur­chase of the domain name for $20 in 1994 is sure­ly one of the great­est invest­ments of the last cen­tu­ry. If only there were some kind of sav­ings account where one could invest $20, wait 14 years, and then col­lect $2.6 mil­lion! A wind­fall by any stan­dard.

Clark decid­ed to auc­tion off pizza.com after notic­ing that the domain name “vodka.com” was sold for an incred­i­ble $3 mil­lion in Jan­u­ary of this year. He seemed absolute­ly ecsta­t­ic over the win­ning bid for his domain name (and frankly who wouldn’t be?), and report­ed­ly wish­es that he had pur­chased many more sin­gle word domain names back in the 90s, when they were both cheap and plen­ti­ful.

These days, just find­ing an easy to remem­ber one-word domain name can be a Her­culean task. Major cor­po­ra­tions have swooped down upon the Inter­net, pur­chas­ing hun­dreds or even thou­sands of domain names relat­ed to their indus­try, prod­ucts and mar­ket­ing. For this rea­son, “dot com” domain names that are short and easy to remem­ber can be extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to find. Many online com­pa­nies have resort­ed to using “dot info” or “dot net” domain names because of the short­age of qual­i­ty “dot com” names avail­able.

All this just goes to prove that Inter­net mil­lion­aires are still being made. And even if the “wild west” days of the Inter­net are long gone, there is still gold out there just wait­ing to be mined.

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